Monday, May 10, 2021

In What Measure You Shall Mete: The Love of Truth Against Relativism - Part 2

So—as Pontius Pilate once asked—what is truth?

Setting aside Relativism for a moment, you are left with two main views on where truth comes from. According to the first view, it comes from science. According to the second, it comes from a Higher Power. But science says nothing substantial about morals or values. It degenerates into relativism when faced with the most important questions in life. That leaves the religious view. And among religions Christianity has the best claim to being from God. Its manifold fulfilled prophecies are evidence enough. There are many ways to see the primacy of Christ’s teaching—if you are in doubt you should certainly pray and study.

Among self-labeled Christians, Protestants will tell you that pure, unadulterated, original Truth is to be found in the Bible, and the Bible alone. However, the books that were in the Bible in early Christianity are only still included in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Bibles. The Catholic Church compiled the Bible in the late 300s, while the schism between Catholic and Orthodox occurred several centuries later, starting in the 700s and becoming total in 1054. So if the Bible is unchangeable truth, Catholic and Orthodox are the only two candidates for original Christianity, with Catholicism the only church showing continuity from beginning to end.

The other thing missing from Protestantism is Tradition – the prayers and rituals and sacraments passed down alongside scripture from the time of Jesus until today. These have remained unchanged in essence for 2000 years. Only the Traditional Catholic Church has held them inviolable.

And here we come to an uncomfortable truth; in order for you to understand what I mean by “Traditional Catholic Church” it is necessary to enter upon a sensitive topic: the current state of Christ’s Church on earth, and the extraordinary crisis it has been undergoing. This is what’s known as the sedevacantist controversy, and if you haven’t you heard of this, you are only a little more likely to have heard of Vatican II and the questionable changes it has introduced into liturgies worldwide.

It might be argued that I am now entering into controversies too sensitive, too internal to the Catholic Church to bear mentioning to those on the outside. But I write this in the conviction that it is the hardest truths that do most to lead people to conversion. To sugar coat, to skirt, to mince words, to compromise in any way the expression of truth harms the truth. It is a result, in the end, of a fear of truth and lack of faith to shy away from hard topics.

For example, I know someone who’s interest in Catholicism, whose daily prayer life and veneration of saints was rekindled by reading articles by Catholics arguing that the Church is currently popeless. In a slightly different vein, but proving the same point: I myself got back into Christianity while studying arguments for and against Creationism, which is supposed by some to be the “weakest” point of the Christian worldview. Rest assured it is one of the strongest. In reality the Truth has no weak points. You will learn more about someone’s toughness by hitting them in the nose than on their shoulder, more if the blow is hard than if it is soft.

On the contrary, a “sect,” based as it is on a lie, has to do everything it can to reinforce the armor around that lie. Cults follow their leader’s every whim. Sects define themselves by whatever is new in them—they spend all their time trumpeting this one thing. But those who follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life—their leader is God and they trumpet every truth under heaven. They preach saintliness itself.

There are many who call themselves traditional Catholics, but the ones with the strongest claim to having hold of the truth is those who hold the sedevacantist position. Keep in mind that sedevacantism is not itself a religion or even a sect, and it is often left in lowercase to remind us of this. It is, rather, an intellectual position: the recognition that the chair (sede-) of St. Peter, the papal seat, is now empty (-vacante). That this is so is reasoned from the fact that the last several “Popes” have taught heresy. As a result of the changes they’ve introduced to doctrine, ritual, and teaching, the sedevacantist position is that most of what is called the Catholic church isn’t really Catholic at all. It is a giant sect, much bigger than what remains of the true faith, but a sect nonetheless. There is, of course, a huge debate over this, and many books have been written, but at base the issue is really very simple. I asked one traditional Catholic priest what the most serious heresy was that led to this mass apostasy from the faith. He said that the most significant and destructive heresy taught by modern “Popes,” starting back in the 1960s, is that there is no such thing as heresy anymore. This is, at base, a relativistic doctrine.

If you’ve never heard of any of this, it’s going to sound very strange. But it is not only important, being relevant to the ongoing spiritual war for the salvation of the world by Christ, it is also relevant, pertaining to the domination of Relativism in all modern intellectual life, having even penetrated into the heart of the One True Church, leading to what many have called the Great Apostasy.

Traditional Catholicism, the original faith, is not dead, however. It lives on, and it is growing again, and very fast, doubling in some places in less than a year.

If you are skeptical of all this, it is understandable. Christianity might seem to you a poor candidate for the One Absolute Truth in the first place. It did to me, too, for many years. This was a fault in me, a kind of pride that scoffed at what the simple might love as wisdom. There isn’t much excuse for such pride, but it can be partly explained if you look around at the messages we are bombarded with in the media, constantly telling us that the supernatural is old-fashioned, and that tradition is bad and backward. That belief in anything beyond our world is the last refuge of the uneducated and bigoted.

But this barrage of anti-spiritual and anti-Christian propaganda, relentless as it has been in our culture now for decades, can only go so far in explaining our reluctance to surrender our materialistic, empty, sinful lives to the grace of God. The other side of this equation is how much hypocrisy we see in the Vatican II Church, which daily seems to be betraying more and more traditional principles (as you see with many of the recent pronouncements of Francis).

Hypocrisy can be present even among those of the true faith. Pharisees, popes who have sinned in their personal life, and sinners who lost the faith—this sort has always been around, those who pretend to have the faith but in reality do not. Much of our society, however, especially mainstream media and entertainment, does not even pretend to faith—it does not even reach the level of hypocrisy. It has degraded itself with something still worse: a denial and disdain of all higher truth.

Whence this faithlessness? It is the worst that has been for a long time. Religion is seen by many today as maybe a sort of glue to help people cooperate, and nothing more. It is no longer seen as the ultimate truth to be accepted out of heartfelt love of God and a desire to be with Him, but rather, as at best a sort of strong medicine for reforming one’s life, or at worse a kind of feel-good opiate to be selected as a matter of relative taste.


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When Jesus taught before the Jewish priests, reception was mixed. One group of priests, called the Sadducees, had been taken with Greek philosophy, and were skeptical of all things supernatural, seeing the Jewish religion in what we might consider a “modern” way, as a mere system of morals for keeping society together. Almost universally the Sadducees hated Our Lord Jesus, who taught faith in a supernatural resurrection, though their numerous attempts to trap him in logical contradiction failed, often to their bitter embarrassment.

The other school of Jewish priests at the time, the Pharisees, believed in a resurrection of the dead, and believed in the coming of a Messiah. When Jesus preached before them, they often approved of what he said. But when they detected even the slightest hint that Jesus thought he was the Messiah, they murmured against him, and over time their rage grew.

Isn’t it understandable, though? Aren’t we naturally suspicious of those who seem to put themselves on a pedestal as some kind of savior? As the one who is right and knows the truth? And isn’t this just prudent, to avoid those who might be con artists, swindlers, and secret tyrants, trying to seduce us into their power and control?

Jesus was the opposite of a swindler. Everything that he did in his lifetime was an act of selfless love. He blessed the children, healed the sick, preached comfort to the poor, preached love of one’s enemy. He preached total humility and a renunciation of the things of this world. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he taught, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But most importantly, the prophesies that Christ fulfilled—which is all the prophecies of a Savior contained in the Old Testament—prove that he’s the Messiah and not a swindler. Anyone willing to rationally examine the evidence (then or now) can see that he is the Christ that had been prophesied.

It was this one command, “believe in Me, for I am the Truth,” that the Pharisees could least accept. And eventually, it was the Pharisees that led the movement to crucify him as a blasphemer, for claiming to be the Son of God.

A little over 1500 years later the Protestant movement against the Church founded by Christ began. Dozens of new churches sprang up, some more Christian, some less, and since then they’ve proliferated into thousands of denominations. The majority of Christians still call themselves Catholic, but for a century or two at least, the Protestant movement grew quickly, dividing Europe into warring factions – Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and others. Aside from rejecting the authority of a Pope as Vicar of Christ, they had little in common. Lutherans believed in grace, not works. Calvinists believed in predestination, Anabaptists believed in a radical separation of church and state. But there was one other thing they all had in common that is worth considering—all of them rejected the idea that the Mass is a supernatural sacrifice.

But what is the Mass? If you aren’t Catholic, you might have no idea, like myself a couple of years ago. When Jesus was crucified, he willingly offered up his life for fallen humanity. Being God, His sacrifice was of infinite merit. The Mass, a sacrament also called the Eucharist, is a ritual performed by a priest, whose prayers, through the power of God, change bread and wine into the actual Flesh and Blood of Christ. Consuming this Flesh or Blood, by the faithful, is called Communion, and is the holiest of all sacraments bestowed on humans by God.

If my incomplete description of the Holy Sacrifice sounds mysterious ... it should. It is the greatest of mysteries. Those without grace have seen it as bizarre, and have rejected it over and over again since Christ first taught it to His followers. As written down by St. John, who was with Jesus at the time it happened:

“The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. ... Amen, amen [truly, truly] I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life ... that if any man eat of it, he may not die. ... The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? ... After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.

“Then Jesus said to the twelve [John was among them]: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

The night before he was crucified, Jesus ate what is known as the Last Supper with his disciples. He broke the bread and poured the wine, blessed it, and told them to eat it, that it was his Flesh and Blood. He told them to do this always in commemoration of him. His manifest Flesh and Blood he would offer up on the cross; mystically he would again offer his Flesh and Blood in the apparent form of bread and wine each time his followers celebrated the Last Supper after his death. This practice came to be known as the Mass, and as far as anyone can tell it has remained unchanged in its essence for almost two thousands years, still practiced today in the same basic form by the faithful. No other rite has caused such contention among humanity as this one, and no other rite claims such supremacy over all other rites, instituted as it was by God Himself in person, prefigured in Jewish rites and the still more ancient rites of Melchizedek, and resulting in the literal presence of God when faithfully performed. Back when England was still mostly Catholic, as related by one author (A.H. Baverstock, quoted in Lasance’s Catholic Missal, p. 28):

“[At the] sight of the host [consecrated bread] at the Elevation ... a man would jostle his neighbor in his eagerness to look on the Holy Sacrament, exclaiming that he ‘could not be blithe [happy] until he had seen his Lord God that day,’ or words to that effect.”

This is by all accounts an accurate description of a truly devout Catholic’s attitude toward the Mass. The bread really does literally become the Flesh of Christ. To this day they will even put the consecrated bread on display for hours at a time, and you can go and quietly adore it and pray.

Does this sound unnatural to you? That’s the point. It’s not natural but supernatural. The point is that God is quite literally real. If he is real, then, as God, he is also omnipotent and utterly transcendent. He can do such things as transubstantiate bread and wine, and give great blessings, even eternal life, to those who eat it. Do you doubt? Then you are only human. Only God’s grace can give people faith in such things unseen. For only on very rare occasions (though these have been well-documented throughout history) does the bread and wine take on the observable characteristics of flesh and blood. They’ve analyzed some of these samples of blood, including those from the Shroud of Turin (stained with the Blood of Christ), and without exception they’ve come out as type AB.

You think I’m joking? Of course not—that would be blasphemous. What’s a joke is to think that a random collision of organic molecules in space somehow resulted in a world where plays out the whole drama of human history, down the last detail of your life and mine, and that it doesn’t, at the next second, simply fly apart again since all notion of order in our brains is more likely by itself than the spontaneous generation of order out there in reality. In other words, God is a far more sensible explanation, and being infinitely wise is thus also infinitely good, and being infinitely good he cares for us infinitely much, and seeks holy Communion with his poor creatures below, bemired as we are in our own sins, and in the suffering that comes with them.

But if there is a God, why does He allow so much suffering?

“Suffering scandalizes and repels the irreligious. They regard it as an unmitigated evil. ... If we are truly Christian we understand suffering. ... God permits suffering to open the eyes of the sinner, and show him his guilt in having abandoned God. He asked of the world happiness; it brought him suffering. Seeing his mistake the sinner at last returns to God. Suffering is the arsenal of love and the furnace in which it is purified.”

One of many insightful passages in Bishop de Gibergues’s The Mass and Christian Life. The context of this passage is how Christ’s sacrifice is renewed with every Mass and made present, in part to sanctify our own suffering. He goes on to quote many saints, including St. Gregory, who writes, “The Saviour suffers anew for us mystically at the Holy Sacrifice [the Mass].”

“The Prophets,” writes Gibergues, “the Fathers of the Church, the Doctors and the Saints speak with enthusiasm of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They exalt it above all else. They look upon it as the centre and keystone of religion, the sum of God’s wonders and gifts, the source of all grace, the life and salvation of the world.” The Mass is the essence of Catholic worship and life.

In other words, the meaning of good and evil, the very question of suffering in the world, the whole of the human relationship to God, the most trying aspects of faith, the nature of life and death, corruption and renewal – all of this is summed up in the Mass, just as the whole of human history is summed up in Christ’s loving sacrifice on the cross. To believe this, and to have faith that Christ came back from the dead and will bring us all back from the dead, and that all will be judged with perfect justice in the end: this is the essence of Christianity. Ponder this, grasp this in all its strangeness and glory, and you will grasp the meaning of life.

The very disciples of our Lord Jesus had difficulty grasping this, however. It takes grace from God to believe. There are admittedly many compelling proofs out there of the Truth, and one could spend a lifetime compiling them, thinking up new ones, and arguing them with everyone you meet. And such a lifetime would not be wasted, might even be saintly, providing it was all done for the glory of God and not for oneself. But even the simplest minds, the least intellectual, can grasp this, and in fact they will have an easier time of it. Unclouded by pride, unconfused by ceaseless vain arguments and facts, one of spotless heart and simple mind will see that this is immediately true: God is perfect, we are deeply imperfect, and God’s Son was sent to call us to to follow him, to lead us on the narrow path that deeply imperfect beings must take if they are to join God and His saints—in eternal glory, endless knowledge and wonders, and spotless beauty—in Heaven. A simple heart will imagine no guile behind any of these wonderful notions, but will see directly that they are beautiful, good, and true. A humble heart knows that it itself is nothing, and will meekly trust in God without question. And God will never neglect such a soul, but do everything for its salvation and glorification, even miracles. And this is what is usually meant when we speak of a Saint.

With all this in mind, it feels like a sin to even bring relativism—our original topic—back into the conversation again. What is the use? The logical contradiction in it was obvious from the start. People disagree, therefore not everyone can be right. Some are right, and some are wrong. Hence absolute truth exists. End of discussion. It is simple really, graspable by anyone without too much of an education.

But the machinations and convolutions of the hypocritical mind have never been greater than in our day. I guess they are greater now even than they were among the Sophists who killed Socrates for asking what the Good and True was. Greater even than among the Pharisees and Sadducees who crucified our Savior for bringing them the Good and the True directly from God.

That absolute Truth is summed up in the Eucharist. This Sacrament has remained the same in essence for almost 20 centuries, despite its many detractors, including most Protestants today. The Catholic Church has preserved it faithfully however, right up to this very moment. Be careful though, only at “traditional” or “Latin” Mass have they preserved this rite as a Sacrifice. Most priests, be warned, who call themselves “Catholic” use a new vernacular rite, which—not being simply a translation as most assume—omits necessary prayers for purification and sanctification. Does this sound like a radical claim? That’s because it is. But there is ample documentation that modernists have infiltrated the Catholic Church and replaced the most sacred rites with new, hollowed-out prayers, under the mask of a Latin to vernacular translation. The last true Pope, it is believed, was Pope Pius XII, whose reign ended in the late 1950’s. This is not the first time Peter’s Seat has been empty, but it is certainly the longest time. (For some links to first-hand accounts of this crisis and careful analysis of the situation, see the bottom of this post.)

The council that did most to mangle the original Christian rites was Vatican II, which was held in the 1960s. As I mentioned near the beginning of this post, I asked the priest who is catechizing my family (preparing us for baptism) what he believed to be the essence of the problem with Vatican II. He said its biggest evil was abolishing the very notion of heresy. After Vatican II, the official stance of the “Catholic” Church is that “The right to exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person” (Catechism of the Catholic [sic] Church, 1994, Section 1738, italics in original). To the modern ear this will in most cases sound unobjectionable. But in its essence this principle is relativistic, and therefore must be false. It denies the truths brought to us by Christ.

It may not convince you that there are many, many scripture passages that contradict the notion of a “right” to religious and moral freedom. But logic alone suffices to refute the existence of such a right.

The principle that murder is wrong is a moral principle. It is, moreover, a religious principle, the Fifth Commandment. If murdering innocent people is wrong, one does not have the freedom to choose a set of principles that allows the murder of innocent people.

Select any true moral or religious principle you like. Theft is wrong. Lying is wrong. Cheating is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Nobody can argue that one is allowed to select moral or religious principles that allow any of these things.

And to the point, what about the right to religious freedom itself? Can it be an “inalienable” right as the modern “Catholic” church contends? (This idea is found in no Catholic decrees, by the Pope or anyone else, prior to the 1960s.)

Because this supposed right is found in a the Catechism of the Vatican II church, it itself is part of a religion. Thus one has the right to set aside this religious principle in favor of the opposite one. But then this right is not inalienable. This right contradicts itself; it is relativistic.

Not all religions can be true! Satanism is not true. God either exists or he doesn’t. Jesus either saves or he doesn’t. If you believe religious fundamentalism to be bad, you can’t also believe that one has an inalienable right to select it as your religion. This principle is illogical, so it can and will lead to absurdities.

We are already seeing such absurdities play out. The sedevacantist Catholics, supposedly “schismatics” for holding to original Christianity in its purity, are in fact more united than the “Catholic” Church itself, though the latter has a “Pope” and the former does not. Every day the Vatican II “Catholic” Church thus becomes more and more fragmented. And Traditional Catholicism, Popeless at present, grows.

You can spend a lifetime studying what’s been happening to the Church, but here’s my point. Relativists and skeptics have infiltrated the modern religious hierarchy, polluting it with their ideas. As a result, the ancient rites are becoming corrupted, and there has been a lack of clear moral leadership in the world since the 1950s. (This was also about the time when the Catholic Church got rid of its list of forbidden books, and guess what happened next? The 60s.) Is it any wonder that morals have been decaying, that our children are educated essentially as nihilists, believing that everything/nothing is true, with a completely demolished notion of right and wrong?

[12] All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets. [13] Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. [14] How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! [15] Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

[16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

[21] Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, ...

[24] Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, [25] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock. [26] And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, [27] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.

[28] And it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine. [29] For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees.” (Matthew 7:16-29)

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. If someone knows the truth, I would have them prove it to me. This is the opposite of the attitude of the relativist, who is afraid to hear it, who wants to stay in the comfortable armor of his lies and not face the possibility of a reality outside the visible, of a Higher Reality contradicting what he wishes were true. And so the lies pile on, and the storm rages harder.

It’s time to pull ourselves together, and take shelter on the rock of Truth.

This a spiritual storm unlike any the world has ever seen.

What can we do? Pray.


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Links for further investigation:

For a first hand account of what’s been going on recently in Catholicism, listen to this nun tell her story and this priest and this layperson. (If you’re interested you can find parts 2 and 3 of the last link here, along with other talks. In another good talk, Bishop Sanborn goes into the gritty logical details. And if you still need convincing, or would like to deepen your understanding, you can explore www.fathercekada.com and www.cmri.org.)

All of this was foreseen.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

In What Measure You Shall Mete: The Love of Truth Against Relativism - Part 1

 Those who love truth, who seek truth, who avoid lies and half-truths, who are willing to die for the truth—these people alone are the hope of our society. Lies have infiltrated our culture, spreading to every corner, and nobody, whatever their political persuasion, can dispute this. We may disagree about which are the lies, but that there are lies, and that they are pervasive, is certainly true.

Fighting for the truth is no easy task. Many obstacles are put in ones way. One can be called prideful, arrogant, oras if this were something to be avoideda believer in absolute truth, as if nothing should ever be taken as completely true, but that everything should be taken with a grain of lie.

And here we unavoidably stumble into that familiar debate between relativism and absolutism, which always seems to come up everywhere, especially between conservatives and liberals, whether youre talking politics, philosophy, or religion. And lest I myself fall into relativism in describing this debate (an all-to-easy thing to do in any debate in modern times, as we are all presumptuously expected to preface our arguments within my humble opinion,thus conceding the issue before we even make our case) relativism is in fact wrong, being logically self-contradictory, and absolutism is (defined correctly) entirely in the right.

And, no, this is not merely my opinion. It is the truth, or else there is no truth.

Ive seen this debate from several perspectives over the course of my life, and it seems now that this entire philosophical drama playing out in my head, and more importantly in society, has reached a kind of climax. For once, I am looking back at my own inner philosophical turmoil, stretching back even to my childhood, and I see a working out of the logic of truth, a creation of a kind of armor against disingenuousness, that can only be credited to Gods grace. Because how could I, or any one else, prone to fancies and passions and logical errors, ever really stumble out from the darkness that is love of self-conception, and into the light? But it is possible with enough humility for anyone to do so, and I will talk more about this before the end of this essay. First, lets shine some light on this beast called Relativism, ordepending on where and in what way one prefers to deny the primacy of truthsometimes Subjectivism, Solipsism, Agnosticism, Atheism, Modernism, Nihilism, or Postmodernism.

Relativism tries to be the rejection ofisms.It is a kind of false humility, a careless attempt at Socrates’sAt least I know that I do not know.It fails because it is really the worst kind of pride, a refusal to submit, to bow down, to enslave oneself to truth.

Thats right, in order to live in truth one must enslave oneself to truth. It is the only way to be truly free. You cant do math correctly unless you follow the rules exactly. You cant be a truly good person unless you avoid all sin.But who of us can be perfect?That is exactly the question. Certainly not me, not by any effort I could muster.

To believe that there is Truth, to believe in a Right and a Wrong, does not mean that one claims to know all truth or to never do wrong. Relativism is a fools creed, an attempt to do no wrong by doing nothing, an attempt to say no wrong by prefacing all statements within my opinion.An attempt to never lose the truth by never looking for it. Relativism is poison, by the way, and it is gradually demolishing our civilization, stone by stone.

It is a swamp of pure doubt. It is a mockery of all faith.

My first encounter with relativism dates back to my parents abandonment of religion when I was about ten years old. At the time they embraced the New Age way of thinking. I do not tell this to complain of my upbringing or to criticize my parents, who were doing their best to find the truth. And in fact my mom has since told me she no longer considers herself New Age and doesnt hold to relativism. In any case, according to the New Age philosophy I was raised with, everyone has to choose their own religion, parents should not tell their children dogmatically what to believe, all beliefs must be respected, and all religious experiences are true to the person that has them. These superficially comforting ideas had already been popular in our culture for decades. New Age taught us that missionaries were all fools, as is anyone hoping to convert anyone to their own religion, that this was nothing but pride and came from a desire to control others. We were taught that all religions were systems for enslaving peoples minds, but that really everyone should be free to find theirown truthand whatever beliefs make them most happy. We were asked,If there are so many religions out there with so many fanatical believers, how could any one of them be true and the rest false?The answer, supposedly, is that none are true or false. True and false is relative to the person having the experience, relative to the society making the judgment call. At best we can eachshareour opinions and come to a mutualunderstanding."

What led me out of this way of thinking was the realization that no two New Age believers seemed to agree on anythingscientifically or spiritually. Some believe in aliens, some in the Norse gods, some believe in supernatural beings and prophesies, some mix together the teachings of Jesus and Buddha and Reiki. (A quick warning for those who dont know yet: Reiki has been shown to be a greedy and dangerous cult.) Theres nothing to put your finger on as true in New Age, simply many different ideas, many of them crazy sounding. Because when you give up on the notion of truth, literally anything goes. Many New Age prophecies were made of the end of times when I was a child and teenager, none of which turned out to be true, and when I realized that it was all based on wishful thinking and whatfeels rightI turned to science, which at least is supposed to be based on evidence, reason, and logic.

Ive talked a lot on this blog about the problems with ascientisticview of the universe, where all questions are to be referred to modern science. But it should be obvious from the start that science has nothing much to say about the meaning of life or the reason we are here. Psychology tries tofixpeople by balancing out the chemicals in their brains or helping people with broken thought patterns. But once your mind is working again, what should it be working on? Psychology has nothing to say to healthy people on this question. (And its materialistic methods of trying to heal the soul are deeply wrong to begin with.) On the other hand, thebiggestquestions are supposedly answered by physics, but of course physics only tells you what the universe is made of, and how simple systems move, and has little to say about the meaning of humanity.

So I next turned to philosophy, which I studied as a graduate student. In Plato and other dead thinkers I found some inkling, finally, of purpose, meaning, and living truth. God had created the world, most of the great philosophers agreed, and our purpose was to live virtuously so we could someday be reunited with God. Plato, centuries before Christ, had deduced this much using pure logic, as well as the immortality of the soul. Plato had in fact defeated relativism by logic, and you can read his refutations still today. During his day the relativists were callsophistsand they held thatman is the measure of all things.To believe this is not only a denial of God and anything higher than man, but to hold that disagreements can never be decided, that each person or society must decide their own truth. Sound familiar?

But my journey did not end with Plato, just as humankinds journey toward the truth did not end in 347 BC when Plato died. In fact, everything that Plato discovered was cobwebs and shadow beside the bright illumination given the Jewish people even before Plato was born. (If there was an influence on Plato from Jewish ideas it is indirect or unspoken, because it is mentioned nowhere in his writings.)

The Greek philosophers, in the end, were far too learned for their own good. The generations that came after them resumed their Pagan ways, believing in many gods and no single God or Truth above them. In Roman society, most religions were tolerated, as long as they didnt cause trouble or interfere with the state religion. The Christians were often not tolerated for precisely this reasonthey denied the existence of any other gods and refused to sacrifice at Pagan altars. They were seen as arrogant andbelieving in only one Godhalfway to atheism and impiety. When you read Greek and Roman historians talk about the Jews and Christians from the outside they see them as spiritually impoverished, lacking the richness of gods and ritual sensualism of the mainstream Pagans. They were socially isolated and worshiped in basements and caves. The Christians, moreover, worshiped no warlike, lusty deity, who seduced nymphs and left many bastard children, but a humble carpenter from Nazareth who healed the sick and died nailed to a cross.

No, despite his bright glimpses of the truth, Platos followers remained largely in darkness. And is it any surprise? What teacher can instruct a pupil in more than either of them know? Things wear out and run down, truths get distorted over time, and left to mere humans, even the truest of doctrines get murky through the ages. Plato, furthermore, offered no religion, but merely a collection of consoling thoughts and ideas. For meaning, the Pagans felt better turning to their gods and traditions.

In my case, though Plato did console me some, I was still left with a great deal of doubt, and a great deal of prideful ambition. I believed in God, like Plato, but not all of his reasoning concerning immortality and heaven seemed to hang together. At least, many other philosophers had doubted it. Nietzsche claimed to have demolished Plato in his philosophy, and there were reasons to believe that he had largely succeeded. In short, philosophy was more in question than ever, and as a philosopher I had my work cut out for me sifting the true from the false, if that were even possible in the realm of metaphysics. So many philosophers had failed to reach agreement over the ageswhat hope was there for me? To make matters worse, modern philosophy had largely abandoned Plato, embracing pragmatism and positivism and postmodernism insteadall nothing more than ancient sophistry in modern dress. According to pragmatists, truth is relative to human society, according to positivists, truth is relative to human observation, and according to postmodernists, truth is an expression of relative human power. None acknowledge a transcendent source of truth, and these three sister-dogmas reign supreme in the modern university. Those who attempt to defend absolute truth are ridiculed and branded as backwards, close-minded dogmatists.

Yet somehow I persevered in my dogged search. And, as Ive described, I was led to the teachings of Christ, and I saw that they were superior to all philosophies.

Which leads me to the third and fourth iterations I am encountering of relativism. The first had been the wild anything-goes of New Age, modern-day Paganism. The second was the human-centered sophistry of Greece that Plato battled against, resurrected in modern times as postmodernism, pragmatism and positivism. The third is political liberalism. And the fourth is religious liberalism.

Political liberalism has hit our society hard over the past few decades, and hardest just in the last year. Let me be blunt about it, and if what I say makes anyone uncomfortable or even angry, realize that I am merely stating the unstated but honest opinion of half the people in this country, those of us who are more than fed up with liberalisms recent excesses. These must be called out for the sake of truth.

In brief, political liberalism is in its self-contradictory essence a total intolerance of intolerance. Wild, hypocritical intolerance of all that is not itself. It holds to the total avoidance of subjective feelings of beingoffended,to an absolute right tochoice,of not beingoppressedby ideas that dontfeel rightto you. Logic is dismantled in a compulsory orgy ofcounselingandsharingand psychiatric medication, along with rawresistanceto thepatriarchy.That is political liberalism in its essence. There is not much there, philosophically, to chew on. To state its dogmas suffices to refute them. Nevertheless, to those with an emotional attachment to these ideas, what Im saying may seem cold and unfeeling. It may seem that Im defending a kind of pure, non-compassionate logic, and dismissing all emotion. But as a matter of fact, I prefer a way of thinking that is infinitely more compassionate than all this socialistic, subjectivistic, self-victimizing posturing. Namely, the way of our Lord, Christ. Jesus came to show us how best to comfort the oppressed and heal the sick of soul. His methods are effective; liberalisms methods are not. Christs methods fill the soul with compassion and love; liberalisms ways hollow out ones soul and leave an empty shell of resentment against the system. I dont know of any exceptions. That is, all those I know of, historically and personally, who have given themselves completely to Christ have become more saint-like; and those who have given in whole-heartedly to Marxs dream have gone on either to destruction or disillusionment. This goes for entire societies as well. (Volumes could be written on this from an historical perspective. Histories placing the Middle Ages back at the pinnacle of human achievement, re-establishing them and the reigns of their saint-kings, such as the long-forgotten St. Alfred the Great or St. Louis, as the true golden ages, and our age as monstrous and deformed shadow thereof ... but alas! I lack by far the leisure for it, let alone the eloquence, the scholarly discipline. Someday someone needs to write this ...)

In any case, it is interesting how this third iteration, political liberalismbecome so blatantly in-your-face over past yearis deeply connected to the fourth iteration, religious liberalism, and thus to Paganism and in a circle to relativistic philosophy. They all ultimately share a root. It is all a turning away from God. The root of it all, that is, is self-worship. It is a refusal to be a slave to the truth; a refusal to do the work necessary to overcome error.

How broken we are. How savagely divorced from the truth. Even those of us who claim to believe in One Truth, how often do we incinerate the truth on the Altar of Non-Offensiveness, or even just the Altar of Convenience and Comfort. How loath we are to evangelize, and tell people the good news: Truth Lives! Certainly, the truth lives, but we have been killing it in our hearts, because the evil one has mastery of the matter of this world, and the matter of this world (I just mean money and popularity and comfort) has mastery over our desires.

Let us not forget, however, amidst all the loud and colorful and sensual distractions of the modern age, who our true Master is. He will not be happy seeing what has been going on while hes been away. Arguably the best arguments for our Masters existence were graced to St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian who is even respected among modern atheistic philosophers for his logical exactitudeone agnostic I knew in grad school even named him as his favorite philosopher.

"Perhaps not everyone who hears this wordGod’ understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body(ST I, Q2, A1).

So to answer your question, no, God is not a man in the clouds, though sometimes He is portrayed this way for lack of better ways to draw Him. Being infinite, God is beyond anything you couldsee to believe.Hence the need for faith.

Heavenly things are beyond human conception, beyond anything artists can portray. Lets look at a couple of detailed and otherworldly descriptions from the Bible, visions separated by centuries:

"Every one had four faces, and every one four wings. Their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their foot was like the sole of a calfs foot, and they sparkled like the appearance of glowing brass. ... And the wings of one were joined to the wings of another. They turned not when they went: but every one went straight forward. ... [T]heir appearance was like that of burning coals ... [They] ran and returned like flashes of lightning(Ezechiel 1:5-14)

"[I]n the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature was like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night ...(Apocalypse 4:7)

When we speak of heavenly things we are speaking of another world outside our universe, a place farther beyond our comprehension than human society is beyond the comprehension of a dog. It is no wonder that much of what God says to us comes in the form of symbols and allegory, that there are mysteries that even the wisest and holiest humans cannot penetrate. Modern man has lost too much humility, and so we must make an effort to approach the topic of God and the Divine with real reverence. Reverence, that holy virtue we forgot, takes seriousness and meekness, and for us now a very intense fear of the face of God, like the fear a son who has run away should have for the face of his angry father.

Aquinass first argument for the existence of God is known as theprime moverargument, and in fact goes back to the Pagan philosopher Aristotle, who lived centuries before Christ but was nevertheless a theist. Im going to enter this argument in depth, to show that by no means does theism equate with ignorance, as modernists hold. If you prefer to skim this next section, be my guest. But dont complain that Ipresumethe existence of a Christian Godon the contrary Ialong with all properly educated Christianscan give unassailable reasons that God exists, that theism is true and not just an opinion.

*** BEGIN DETAILED ARGUMENT ***

St. Aquinas writes:

"The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."

I quote him in full because the argument is so short, so perfectly concise, were I to delete any significant fraction of it, it would only mangle it.

To the impatientmodernmind this argument will often sound simplistic. Possible objections will come to mind:

(1) But why, logically, does there have to be a mover at all? Dont Newtons laws show that objects in motion tend to stay in motion, so that an object could move forever, past and future, without a mover? And doesnt quantum mechanics allow for spontaneous motion and fluctuations in the vacuum, violating the requirement for a mover in every case? This seems to be an unjustified assumption.

(2) Likewise, how can we assume that an infinite chain of movers is impossible?

(3) How do we know that this mover is God?

(4) The laws of physics, moreover, are symmetrical in the past and future, so shouldnt this as easily, therefore, prove a last mover as a first?

But all of these objections arise from carelessness. Either you werent paying attention to Aquinass actual argument or you werent paying attention in physics class.

(1) That there must be a mover is a known law of nature. It is implied by Newtons three laws. (i) Objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. This means that all motion is either caused by pre-existing or continued motion, or by a mover. (ii) Force equals mass times acceleration. This gives you the law by which potential change in motion is effected, mover to moved, and becomes actual motion. This law conserves the total amount of motion (momentum) and total energy, validating Aquinass assertion that motion can never arise out of nothing. (iii) For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In Aristotelian termsmotionalso encompasses acceleration and all other kinds of change. Though this law shows that amoverin one respect is also amovedin another respect, when speaking of motion in a single respect this law implies, once again, that for any change there is both a mover and a moved. (As to the objection from quantum mechanics, physicists point out that Newtons Laws remain valid at the quantum level though their expression is more complicated.)

Newtons Laws can be said to be in essence a precise, mathematical, and practically useful formulation of Aquinass first argument for God.

(2) An infinite chain of movers is shown to be impossible by an appeal to the law of causation.[S]ubsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover.An infinite chain is trying to get around this law by supposing that the motion has simply always been happening. This again contradicts the laws of physics, which, according to thermodynamics, prohibit perpetual motion. St. Thomas Aquinas gives more details on this line of reasoning in his Second Argument for the existence of God, appealing explicitly to the law of causation, which was the medieval version of what modern scientists call the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

(3) Aquinas says that we know this prime mover is God becauseeveryone understandsit to be. Perhaps this was more true in medieval timesthere is such a lack of faith in modern times that we are used to skeptics jumping in and asking how we know it to be so. But to postulate any prime mover other than God is to fall into absurdity. If the first mover was moved by anything else, it was not the first mover. Therefore it is self-movingbut this means it breaks all the laws of physics weve been discussing, which prohibit any such thing. (And, corroborating this, cosmologists have shown that all known laws of physics break down as you approach the moment of the Big Bang when all motion came into beingwhich means that the beginning of the universe did involve a process beyond physics and beyond what we know of nature, put frankly, a supernatural process.) But any system that transcends even the laws of physics has infinitely more degrees of freedom than our entire universe, and is entirely beyond human comprehension. Yet it set all this in motion, our fine-tuned universe that allows, against all likelihood, for human civilization to flourish. Such a feat is impossible without a vaster intelligence than any being in our universe could possess.

(4) This reasoning does in fact prove alast mover,named by Aristotle thefinal causewhich is the purpose of our universe and can also be argued to be God.

You can read the other 4 proofs of God here (https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm). Let me just comment very briefly on the rest. Each of these proofs relate, in different ways, to the point I just made ((3) above) about our universe needing a cause more ordered than itself. Look up arguments for fine-tuning, or see this, this, or this post, for more elaboration of how this not only can be reconciled with modern physics, but is strongly implied by the findings of modern cosmology.

*** END DETAILED ARGUMENT ***

Jesus said:In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you.They try to disprove God by physics, but the physics created by God will always have its revenge.

Moreover, they try to disprove God by relativism, arguing that he is too intolerant to be loving. But their relativism is making them too intolerant to love either God or their fellow man. Weve tried to give up and sayDont judge"—not at allyet this was not what Jesus meant when he saidIn what measure you shall mete,but rather he meant to condemn hypocrisy. And nothing is more hypocritical than sayingeverybody is rightorin my humble opinionwhen you know the truth, refuse to look for the truth, or condemn all believers in the truth.

That God exists cannot be rationally denied. Proofs of His existence have been known for thousands of years. It is carelessness to ignore them. God is infinitely more powerful than any of us can imagineI find it hard to believe the foolishness of those who continue to defy His authority. Do they not believe that an infinitely wise God would be merciful and loving to those who turn to Him? Jesus, our Lord, came to give us testimony of this love, of Gods desire to forgive those who repent, and to show the infinite depths of this love on the cross.

Do you not think that God could let a virgin conceive, or his Son walk on water or raise the dead, when he could form our universe and smooth the fabric of space-time to one part in 1010^123? It is simple for any human programmer to hack his own program, to put in cheat codes to fly or heal at will. And you think God couldnt do it, or wouldnt do it to show that He cares? Its absurd and terrifying how many people are unable to believe because theyve bought into the modern propaganda that science has defeated religion and shown it to be silly.

A few things to ponder, while I work on Part 2.